(ABC4)- Utah saw no new criminal human trafficking cases filed in federal courts in 2020, according to a report from the Human Trafficking Institute. The state also saw no new defendants or convictions in human trafficking cases.
The Virginia-based institute rolled out its state reports for 2020 this week. They provide an overview of federal human trafficking prosecutions in all 50 states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia for each year.
There are two total active defendants of human trafficking cases in Utah, according to the report. Since no defendants were convicted federally, none were ordered to pay restitution to their victims.
Since 2016, there have been a total of three cases of forced labor and four criminal sex trafficking cases in Utah. The highest number of new cases over a 20-year period was five in 2015. That case had eight defendants of which three were convicted that year.
On a national scale, prosecutors filed more sex trafficking prosecutions in 2020 than forced labor prosecutions in a 20-year period. There have bee a total of 2,093 active human trafficking prosecutions with 93% of those cases involving sex trafficking.
Self-reporting by a victim was the most common way that a case was reported to law enforcement in 2020. Over a third of case referrals that resulted in a prosecution involved a victim who contacted law enforcement for assistance, either directly or through the support of a nonprofit or hotline.
Girls below the age of 18 are the most likely to be named as victims in human trafficking prosecutions, according to the Human Trafficking Institute.
The Human Trafficking Institute publishes its reports on a yearly basis. They provide comprehensive data from every federal criminal human trafficking prosecution that U.S. courts handle and trends in civil cases.
The report’s findings serve as an objective summary of how the federal system holds traffickers accountable for their exploitative conduct. They do not show an estimate of trafficking in the United States.